Thinking ahead on diabetes

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 14:20 in Health & Medicine

Doctors may be able to identify individuals at elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes as much as a decade before symptoms of the disorder appear by measuring the levels of small molecules in the blood. In a report in Nature Medicine, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers describes finding that levels of five amino acids not only indicated increased diabetes risk in a general population but also could differentiate among individuals with traditional risk factors such as obesity those most likely to actually develop diabetes. “These findings could provide insight into metabolic pathways that are altered very early in the process leading to diabetes,” says lead author Thomas Wang, an MGH cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). “They also raise the possibility that, in selected individuals, these measurements could identify those at highest risk of developing diabetes so that early preventive measures could...

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